UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Do reporting guidelines have an impact? Empirical assessment of changes in reporting before and after the PRISMA extension statement for network meta-analysis Veroniki, Areti A.; Tsokani, Sofia; Zevgiti, Stella; Pagkalidou, Irene; Kontouli, Katerina-Maria; Ambarcioglu, Pinar; Pandis, Nikos; Lunny, Carole; Nikolakopoulou, Adriani; Papakonstantinou, Theodoros; et al.


Background The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) extension statement for network meta-analysis (NMA) published in 2015 promotes comprehensive reporting in published systematic reviews with NMA. PRISMA-NMA includes 32 items: 27 core items as indicated in the 2009 PRISMA Statement and five items specific to the reporting of NMAs. Although NMA reporting is improving, it is unclear whether PRISMA-NMA has accelerated this improvement. We aimed to investigate the impact of PRISMA-NMA and highlight key items that require attention and improvement. Methods We updated our previous collection of NMAs with articles published between April 2015 and July 2018. We assessed the completeness of reporting for each NMA, including main manuscript and online supplements, using the PRISMA-NMA checklist. The PRISMA-NMA checklist originally includes 32 total items (i.e. a 32-point scale original PRISMA-NMA score). We also prepared a modified version of the PRISMA-NMA checklist with 49 items to evaluate separately at a more granular level all multiple-content items (i.e. a 49-point scale modified PRISMA-NMA score). We compared average reporting scores of articles published until and after 2015. Results In the 1144 included NMAs the mean modified PRISMA-NMA score was 32.1 (95% CI 31.8–32.4) of a possible 49-excellence-score. For 1-year increase, the mean modified score increased by 0.96 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.59) for 389 NMAs published until 2015 and by 0.53 (95% CI 0.02 to 1.04) for 755 NMAs published after 2015. The mean modified PRISMA-NMA score for NMAs published after 2015 was higher by 0.81 (95% CI 0.23 to 1.39) compared to before 2015 when adjusting for journal impact factor, type of review, funding, and treatment category. Description of summary effect sizes to be used, presentation of individual study data, sources of funding for the systematic review, and role of funders dropped in frequency after 2015 by 6–16%. Conclusions NMAs published after 2015 more frequently reported the five items associated with NMA compared to those published until 2015. However, improvement in reporting after 2015 is compatible with that observed on a yearly basis until 2015, and hence, it could not be attributed solely to the publication of the PRISMA-NMA.

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